Former lightweight title challenger Tony Luis successfully defended his WBA-NABA title on Oct. 14 in front of a raucous hometown crowd in Cornwall, Ontario, earning a hard-fought 10-round unanimous decision over Giovanni Straffon. Two ringside judges scored the fight 98-92 for Luis, while the third had a 97-93 scorecard. Straffon, of Veracruz, Mexico, dropped to 14-2- 1 with the loss.
The Canadian boxer was the early aggressor, moving forward in the first two rounds working the body against an opponent who was waiting to counter. Straffon changed strategy beginning in Round Three, standing his ground, moving forward in an attempt to instigate a brawl. Luis boxed effectively, exiting to his right after landing combinations against the southpaw. Those styles set the tone for much of the rest of the fight.
Straffon had one of his best moments of the fight with a minute left in the sixth round, during which he assaulted Luis with a mostly unanswered 30-second barrage. But Luis covered and ducked effectively and emerged undamaged.
The Mexican continued to turn up the pressure during the second half of the bout, which was mostly a close-quarters war. Both fighters hammered the body effectively, but Luis’ crisp combinations on the inside may have been the game-changer for the judges. Both fighters showed stamina and valor to the final bell, exciting the crowd with an energetic final round. Luis appeared to rock Straffon with a big left hook with 20 seconds left. The Mexican backed up momentarily, then waved his opponent forward to close the show.
Luis (25-3, 8 KOs) is hopeful that the victory will put him back on the path toward a world title shot or eliminator against the likes of Ray Beltran, Felix Verdejo, Jorge Linares, or Anthony Crolla. Luis lost a controversial decision in his only world title shot in 2015 — that one for the WBA’s interim lightweight belt — to Derry Mathews, who was fighting in his home city Liverpool, England.
“This fight was a true classic, and fight fans got their monies worth,” said Denis Benoit, CEO of Liveco Boxing. “Tony Luis continues to improve each time out, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets another crack at a world title. I couldn’t be more pleased with his performance,” added Benoit.
Teslenko makes quick work of Guivas
In the co-feature, heavyweight Oleksandr Teslenko sent Nick Guivas to the canvas with a quick left-hand lead in the second round, a blow that lifted the Ukrainian-born prospect to 11-0 as a pro. The knockout at 2:05 of the round was the ninth in the career of the 25-year- old Teslenko, a Toronto resident who was 224-3 as an amateur.
The 6-foot- 4 Teslenko fought a careful opening round, using a long left hand as a range- finder against Guivas (14-9- 2), who brought a 28-pound weight advantage into the bout. Teslenko became more aggressive at the second round bell, landing a combination 73 seconds in, then assaulting the body 20 seconds before landing the shot that put Guivas on the seat of his boxing trunks. Guivas, a resident of Topeka, Kan., struggled to a knee, but took the count from referee Donovan Boucher before rising.
Fryers stays undefeated in first six-rounder
In the second fight of the evening, junior welterweight Larry Fryers improved to 5-0 (2 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Heberto Perisco of Mexico.
Fryers, a native of Ireland now living in New York, made effective use of a stabbing left jab to set up combinations throughout the fight. He also stung his opponent with right-hand leads and an effective left hook, one of which appeared to wobble Perisco briefly with 1:15 left.
The 24-year- old Perisco, now 8-8, used quickness and lateral movement to stay out of serious trouble, and counterpunched well in spots. Scorecards favored Fryers 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56 at the final bell.
Soumaoro impresses in four-round opener
In the opener, junior welterweight Mohamed Soumaoro stayed unbeaten with is fourth pro victory, a four-round unanimous decision over Alberto Alejandro Morales Bautista. The 24-year- old Soumaoro, a native of Guinea now living in LaSalle, Quebec, won every round on two scorecards, and was award three of the four round by the other judge. There were no knockdowns in the fight.
Bautista began aggressively, utilizing a long reach and a height advantage in the opening round, throwing rapid combinations as Saomaoro tried to find his way inside to bludgeon the body. A hard left hook to Bautista’s head drew a reaction from the crowd in the closing seconds of the first round.
A hard left hook to the head set the tone for Saomaoro just 30 seconds into the second round, which he finished with a multi-punch combination after trapping his opponent in a corner. Saomaoro followed scored effectively with combinations throughout the third round, and continued to control the action in the final round, landing the more-effective shots. Bautista, of Mexico City, dropped to 6-8 with the loss.